Will you apply the potter's message to your life today?
She watched in awe as the potter threw the clay down on the wheel. He had described his plans for this morning’s work when she arrived, but now she carefully watched as he performed his magic. His hands firmly gripped the ball of clay. Using his fingers, he formed a well into the ball. She could see his fingers slowly moving pressing into the clay. Gradually the clay started to conform to the potter’s will. She watched intently as he pulled and pushed the clay into the form he had described earlier. He used the sponge to smooth away any ridges caused by the pressure of his fingers. His touch had molded the clay into a graceful vase.
In a matter of moments, he had transformed the blob into a beautiful object. He carefully removed the vase from the wheel and carried it to the shelf to dry. As he walked back to his wheel, he looked at her quizzically and said, “It’s just an empty vessel,” and continued back to his work.
His words haunted her thoughts. “It’s just an empty vessel.” But, it seemed much more than that to her. She contemplated the process that created that empty vessel. She knew that he had made the process look so easy. She knew that learning how to throw the clay down onto the center of the wheel was a monumental task. She also knew that it took endless hours of practice to learn how to turn a simple bowl. She couldn’t imagine how long it took to learn how to form such a graceful fluted vase. So why was it just an empty vessel? Why was it nothing more than that to the potter?
The unfinished vase sat in the shop, drying on the shelf before being fired. She knew it would be sitting exactly where he had left it the day before. She looked at the shelf, there sat the other examples that the potter had pointed out. He created a visual display. Samples showed each step of the process from the beginning to the final product. Each vase, each pot was one-step closer to being completed. The last vase on the shelf was a beautiful slender verdant vase.
She walked down the length of the shelf. His words were still ringing in her ears, “It’s just an empty vessel.” When she reached the end of the shelf, she was no closer to understanding the potter’s words. She turned to leave. He stood there, watching her. She looked at him with the question in her eyes, “What do you mean? They are only empty vessels? It takes a master’s hand to create something so beautiful out of a blob of clay.” She knew the dedication that it took to create something so special.
They sat and he explained to her. He created the pottery. He loved working with the clay. It gave him joy to be able to share his craft with others in his humble shop. But, the pottery was the medium to get others to think. He molded clay, with his hands. How many lives were molded and shaped by someone’s touch? Everyone has the potential to nurture someone along the way. A gentle prod, a word of kindness, sharing hope are all ways that people can help mold another’s life. So you see, it’s just an empty vessel. It’s what you do to fill it that makes it truly special.